A class-action lawsuit is when one or more people file a legal laim against another person, business, organization, or group. In this case, the people that are filing the suit want to let others know about an issue or problem that affects them too. The court must approve a settlement with those who have been wronged before they can receive compensation for damages. Since this type of lawsuit is filed to benefit a group or class, it is called a “class-action” lawsuit, and there are 4 things you should know about class-action lawsuits.
1. One Voice
In a class-action lawsuit, everyone that qualifies as part of the group or “class” involved in the suit will be represented by one person. This person is called a “representative”. Anyone that wants to visit KerleySchaffer.com can see that in these types of lawsuits, it’s incredibly important to be represented by someone that knows the system well. A representative job is to make sure that what happens to those who are affected by the subject of the lawsuit is resolved fairly and equally. They must make sure that the settlement is approved by everyone in the group, and all relevant information is given to everyone in the class. If any member of the class is not satisfied with the outcome, they can ask for another hearing or trial (depending on where you live). They should also have the necessary authority to help the people they represent communicate among themselves, set clear goals everyone can agree on, and help them know what to expect during the process of the lawsuit.
2. Common Types Of Class-Action Lawsuits
While technically, a class-action lawsuit can be about anything, there are certain types of cases that are often seen in class-action lawsuits.
- Medical Malpractice – When a medical professional fails to treat a patient and they did not provide them with the proper standard of care. This can be incredibly traumatic even if the health consequences aren’t permanent, let alone if they are. There have been successful class-action lawsuits filed against hospitals, doctors, and nurses. It is important to remember, however, that while it can be hard to go through some things – not everything bad that happens falls under the category of medical malpractice.
- Product Liability – This occurs when someone is injured or killed by a product that was negligently designed or manufactured. For example, if someone was fatally injured by a car because the brakes were defective and it could’ve been prevented, their family members might file a product liability case.
- Environmental Malpractice – This type of lawsuit happens when someone is affected by pollution or another toxin in nature, usually caused by another person’s negligence. Commonly referred to as “toxic torts”, these lawsuits have been filed by residents of entire cities because of water pollution or air toxins.
- Insurance acting in bad faith – When an insurance company legally has to pay benefits, but they act in bad faith by refusing to pay for something that was covered. For example, if someone had surgery and the insurance company refused to cover the surgery because they said it was “elective”, then that is acting in bad faith.
- Fraudulent business practices- When a business or company makes false claims about their products or services, which leads to consumers relying on these claims and purchasing the product or service. Miracle cures or weight loss pills that don’t work are common examples. However, it could also be as simple as a store claiming that second-hand items are new.
- Civil rights violation- When a person is wrongfully treated and discriminated against because of their race, religion, gender, or other characteristics. Civil rights are protected by the US Constitution, so it is illegal to discriminate against someone on this basis regardless of where you live.
Roughly, class-action lawsuits could be divided into personal injury, and bad faith claims, however, they don’t always have to be limited to just those two categories.
3. How To Join A Class-Action Lawsuit
In order to join a class-action lawsuit, you must be either affected by the subject or exposed to it. In other words, if you use the product or service that is the subject of the class-action lawsuit, you can get involved. Some class-action lawsuits can be very large, while others may only affect a few people. There are typically 4 steps you have to follow:
Step 1 – Fill out an application form or contact an attorney. Each class action settlement will have its own set of rules for joining, so it is best to read them carefully.
Step 2 – Wait for a response from the company or the court. After the application form has been received, there will be an official notice as to your eligibility. In some cases, you may have to provide additional documentation. In other cases, they may ask you whether you want to remain involved with the case.
Step 3 – Pay the required filing fee (if necessary). There is usually a filing fee of around $200 to participate in a class-action lawsuit, which you will need to pay if you decide that this route is for you. However, it can be waived under certain conditions. If you are low-income, disabled, or elderly, you would most likely be eligible to have this waived. Additionally, some lawyers don’t require any fees upfront, until the case is won.
Step 4 – Keep abreast of the developments in the case. Class-action lawsuits can take years before they are settled, so it is important to stay informed. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity for compensation because you weren’t listening during class-action updates.
4. The Pros Of Joining A Class-Action Lawsuit
Ultimately, people join class-action lawsuits for compensation. This may be money, but it could also cover medical expenses or other needs that aren’t always covered by insurance. Joining a class-action lawsuit is typically the only way to get compensation for an injury or illness, so it can be very beneficial.
On top of monetary compensation, joining a class-action lawsuit could also help you affect change. Class-action lawsuits are often about safety or improving companies’ policies regarding something, which means there’s no better way to get your voice heard than to be a part of it.
With that in mind, class-action lawsuits can help you feel like you’re making a difference by sharing your story and speaking up for yourself. This is especially beneficial if you are unable to go through the process on your own for whatever reason.
Class-action lawsuits are designed to make sure that wrongs are made right. Even if you don’t think you can gain much, chances are that there’s something in particular that will affect you or people you know, so it might be worth looking into. Whether you’ve been personally affected by the case or you simply want to make a change, knowing more about class-action lawsuits can help you determine if this is something for you.